I read an innovative and creative piece of advice for parents of dating-aged children the other day, and wouldn’t you know it, I failed to bookmark it and now I can’t find it. So in no way am I taking any credit for this – other than to share it with y’all, while only taking credit for the fact that my online search turned up a big fat nothing.*A mother wrote on her blog that when her teenage daughter started dating, she wanted to give her advice that was practical without being overbearing or preachy. And I think she hit the nail on the head.
She suggested her daughter go read 1 Cor 13:4-7, and substitute her boyfriend’s name wherever the word “Love” appears or is referred to. Her rationale, from what I can recall, was that that passage of Scripture succinctly defined love, and if the boyfriend loved her daughter, then his actions and words would match up. And if the boyfriend’s behavior ran contrary, perhaps she needed to evaluate whether or not the boy was worth dating. So in her daughter’s case, the passage became: “Sean is patient, Sean is kind. Sean does not envy, Sean does not boast, Sean is not proud.” And so on.
The mom wrote that her daughter took her advice, reflected on the passage, and concluded that her boyfriend perhaps wasn’t good for her.The mom went on to suggest to her daughter that she substitute her name as well, and in doing so, would remind herself of how she was to act in any future relationship.
What an awesome piece of advice. One of my sons is dating now, and I will suggest this. Sure, it’s not the only piece of good advice you can find when it comes to your kids and dating, but I’ve never come across advice that incorporates those verses. And depending on the child, it’s more effective than any lecture, because they reach the conclusion on their own.
But here’s the coolest thing about it: this advice is not just for our kids. It’s something we can use for ourselves, too. I substitute my own name, and it becomes an examination of conscience. Was I kind today? Did I display patience? Was I envious of anyone? And so on.
So simple, yet so powerful.
*UPDATE: My friend Rebecca Frech found it! Here’s the link. Turns out it was an article and not a blog, and that I read a more into it than I originally remembered, but that’s to be expected cos I’m a guy.
Photo credit: Courtney Carmody [Creative Commons] via Wikimedia